December 2020 Newsletter – Boosting Family Engagement: Types of Family Engagement

The chart below shows six types of family engagement strategies that build upon one another.  The most basic strategy is communication, which you can see is at the bottom of the chart.  Each type of engagement builds on the relationships established in the levels below. The higher levels of family engagement require a bit more from both caregivers and family members, but the rewards are that much sweeter.

Types of Family Engagement

Decision-making The most involved type of family engagement involves shared decision making.  In this scenario, family members participate on a family committee and work with members of leadership to set and meet goals for the program.
Volunteering Providing opportunities for family members to spend time engaged with teachers and children is another valuable way to boost engagement. The key is to provide a variety of opportunities for family members to volunteer their time. Some may want to come to the facility and build a stage on the playground. Others may volunteer to edit your monthly newsletter and other family members may want to come in to read to the children in the afternoons. Volunteering may be challenging right now, but be sure to make opportunities available when it is safe to do so.
Community Networking Creating the opportunity for families to network with other parents through your child care program is part of this type of engagement. Organizing chances for families to engage with experts from different fields within your community is also part of community networking.
Educational Support Many parents are interested in how they can help their child become a better learner. Helping parents understand how children learn and providing activities that they can work on with their children that promote academic skills is part of this type of family engagement.
Parent Support At this level, caregivers and programs begin to work in partnership with families to ensure that children are developing to their highest potential. This includes sharing information about child development, especially social and emotional development. Programs should create a system to support families in the work of raising happy, healthy young children.
Communication At the lowest level of family engagement, is the reliable and respectful sharing of information. Even though this is the least intense form of family engagement, it is often the place where breakdowns occur. Communication can be challenging, but without this foundation, there is little hope for the other types of engagement to succeed.

For the main article Boosting Family Engagement, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Increased Family Engagement, CLICK HERE

For the article Grassroots Family Engagement Strategies, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner:  Creating and Implementing a Family Engagement Plan, CLICK HERE